It was the experience of the Rishis of the yore as well as those of today that ultimate peace lies in the experience of the Divinity that we all are. Peace is something that cannot be attained by the people in the ways of the world. But how do we get this peace? What do we give God in exchange of which He is going to grant us peace? What is the currency? What is the item or the thing that we have to give God against which He will grant us His property which is peace? Only when one is prepared to sacrifice can one attain peace – eternal peace. Endless peace comes to the one who sacrifices. The one who sacrifices for the sake of others, the one who leads life selflessly for the benefit of others, attains – and, not only attains but experiences – this endless peace forever. The best way to please God is to love all, serve all.
The devotees who accompanied Swami on the Yatra are those who have stood up for this principle of sacrifice and they have done everything in the best of their capacities to provide education, nutrition, health to others. Therefore, they have the right to show their face to the Lord because they have done everything they can in order to serve Lord in fellow beings. Because by this continuous sacrifice and service, their heart has become fertile, their heart has become soft, their heart has become pure; therefore, the experience of Divinity has come to them when they visited these places of importance. They all told, “Swami, we are so grateful, we express our gratitude for having brought us to this great pilgrimage. What else we can do to express our gratitude and thankfulness to You?” I told them, “You continue to love people more, serve people more now that you have experienced the oneness of everything that all are one. Use this to do more.” All the time, everywhere, in all possible ways you must keep serving God.
It is Swami’s desire, it is Swami’s wish that all of you must participate in whatever capacity that you have in removing the suffering of the fellow beings and providing them peace and happiness which is what we are supposed to do when we live on this earth. Truly the service of mankind is service of the Lord, those serving the beings is equivalent to serving the one who resides within. Therefore, through service, attain God, attain that eternal peace, that by attaining which no more desires are left, no more anxiety or fears trouble us. That kind of peace we must attain by sacrificing and serving others.
Oh Students boys and girls! It is entirely your responsibility to uphold the righteousness of the land having been born in that land which is varied with its finesse of art and architecture. The hidden meaning in the word Bhaarata is that the Indians are the ones who derive bliss being immersed in God Bha+ra ta ( Bha is Bhagavanta rata means immersed). Till the time where the Indians who are born in this land remember, love God, see God in everyone and serve God, till then the Indian culture and heritage will surely remain in the entire world permanently. We have known for ages the truth that Atma is in itself the Paramatma or the Divine. We have also known that the highest goal of education is to know the Self or the Divine.
Today’s world is chaotic without peace, grief and fear stricken because of the extensive use of weapons all around and there has been no truthfulness anywhere. The main reason for this being selfishness in human beings. It is possible to re-establish peace in the world only by providing good education to our students in schools and colleges. The main aim of the University of Shri Sathya Sai for Human Excellence is to bring out excellent human beings who will be selfless, God loving and serving the society. This University is not confined only to India but it is my desire and wish that it illumines and plays a role model to the entire world. In the coming years, there is no doubt that this University shall grow holier and bigger and not only in Karnataka, there shall be many more colleges in other states and through them, it will be exemplary to the entire world.
It is my wish that our Bharatiya Culture which is divine, ancient, eternal be re-established and re-vitalised and through which it takes all to the highest goal in the Universe. Oh my dear Children! If this has to happen it cannot be through one person or a few people, but will happen if many people, the Government, the devotees in the society, the Thyagajeevis working in this Institution, all come together. We have to convey our heartfelt gratitude to each and every one. It is my wish and blessing that all of you make use of this glorious opportunity to realise that this education is not merely for a living but for the ultimate goal of life, to become good citizens of the country, to serve the society in an excellent way to make it a better place to live and also to propagate and diffuse the Indian culture and heritage in the entire world and emancipate your lives through that.
God has been described as consisting of three values or three attributes: Satyam Shivam and Sundaram. Truth that does not change, goodness that is always in the service of others and beauty – the experience of Divinity: these three consist of the God principle. The world outside that changes from morning till evening and the next day, the body that undergoes changes with time, the mind that changes with circumstances therefore cannot be called as the real Truth. When we do deeds, think or speak in a way that is not bringing happiness, goodness, auspiciousness to others, then we are drifting away from this principle of God, of Shivam. And when we concentrate only on the external appearances and we derive joy out of the experiences of our external senses, that is not the beautiful experience that God stands for.
The world keeps changing but God which forms the basis of this world remains changeless. to know this truth of the Divine basis of all existence –Nitya Shuddha Buddha Mukta Nirmalasvarupinam – that which is eternal, that which is pure, that which is free of all bondage, that which is ever present, that which is pure – that is the basis of everything else. To understand this is the true goal of education. All the knowledge of the world can come only so far and not further but this knowledge of Atman or the experience of Divinity alone can help us attain the highest fulfilment in our lives. The principle of this Atman or the knowledge of the Truth knowing which all the other things do not affect you – you really become equanimous; having become equanimous, when you deal with the world, you are not touched by either sin or merit; you remain pure, unsullied and that is the principle of your true Self.
To remain unaffected by all these changing emotions of the world, one has to understand one’s true self taking refuge in which one can lead a life of supreme peace and fulfilment. Without this, it is not possible. To be equanimous in all situations by knowing the supreme Truth of your existence alone, one can lead a life of peace, happiness and fulfilment in this world. And therefore, this kind of education which teaches that supreme truth of one’s existence is the foremost need of the hour and pursuing this, Bhagawan is opening many schools, colleges, university for the sake of imparting the right kind of education which is the panacea for all the problems of the world today.
There is this Divinity which is present in every part of this creation without doubt. And the goal of education is merely to bring out this latent Divinity in the child through this process called culture or Samskara. When we educate a child, the Divinity within should manifest. If education today is achieving everything other than this, then it is no education at all. Removal of immorality is the way to immortality. We are talking about value education, we are talking about installing morality in the society through education and this is the way – when we remove all that which is not Divine in the person, what remains is Divinity. So, the good part is that the child is already Divine – you don’t have to make him Divine by certain efforts as you may imagine.
Child is already Divine – first, believe in it; do not have doubts about it. It is born in the image of Divinity. There is no doubt about it. This faith, this truth should be firmly established in your minds. The ultimate wisdom and the realisation that one is Divine and so is everybody else and everything else alone can establish morality in the society, peace in the world. You call it by any name, any form, attribute anything to that Divinity based on your faiths and beliefs – it is not a problem as long as you believe that that Divine which is pure, selfless love exists in everything and everyone.
Ultimately the future of the child, the future of the society, the nation and the world largely lie in your hands. Good teachers plus good students is equal to good nation. Therefore, most important, you develop this kind of feeling of Divinity and love, it will spread to the child. In every piece of iron, there is magnet. However, when it comes in touch with another piece of magnet, the iron also transfers into a magnet. You teachers have to be that magnet which comes in touch with this piece of iron and transforms it also into another magnet. Therefore, you must learn to be Divine first, you must learn to understand, appreciate that Divinity within through which you can transform the children. It is not complicated. Divinity is purity, is pure love. When you give up all the selfishness, when you give up all the self-interest and you love the children and serve them without any expectation but with only one hope and wish that they will realise their true Divinity and thereby find fulfilment, you have done your duty.
The very fundamental basis of the body and mind, there is something which is the spirit or the Atma. Masters taught that this Atma is the truth, the Atma is God, Atma is Divine. All the things that happen in the world, all the phenomenon of nature, are dependent on the Divine principle, Atma. Atma Jnana or Self-knowledge is the ultimate wisdom. On the basis of the ancient Indian education, we teach children to learn means of living i.e. Jeevana Upadhi. Apart from that, we also have to teach them Jeevita Paramavadi that is the ultimate goal of life that is Self realisation or God realisation. When children know truth about themselves, very spontaneously they will be able to cultivate values and practise them.
This Divine principle, this Atmic principle, has one major hallmark – that is love. It is totally desire less, divine, glorious and absolutely selfless. It does not have any expectations. Love keeps giving all the time; it doesn’t know how to accept. When children realise and experience their own divinity in the form of such selfless love, spontaneously and automatically they will develop values and practise them in their lives. Fundamentally we should teach this principle of selfless love. Once they cultivate and experience this love, automatically all values will be there in them. It is very necessary we develop this kind of selfless sacred love in children. How do we really teach this to them? Only when we love them selflessly, they understand what is love. If you develop that kind of selfless love towards the children, you need not have to teach them anything. They themselves will grasp and practise this.
The seed of all human values is sacred, selfless love. When we cultivate this kind of love in the hearts of children, there will be harmony, security and prosperity in society. When we get rid of the narrow-mindedness and develop broad-mindedness and develop an attitude that the whole world is one family, there won’t be any conflicts in society. Only through love we can achieve it, not through conferences and discussions. You may not do anything else, love your students selflessly and that will inspire them to practise values. What is good for children, we should be ready to sacrifice because sacrifice is the other face of the coin of love. When teachers are ready to sacrifice anything for the sake of students, they will transform, evolve themselves into Acharyas and Gurus and that will lead to social welfare. Above everything, if you develop selfless love for your students, the students will be redeemed and society will be redeemed and ultimately, we will also be able to achieve world peace.
India has such rich traditions – everybody only loved God in India. God was the centre and soul of everyone in India. Bharata – the ones who revel in Lord. Rata means immersed, who are engrossed, who revel in the love and glory of Lord, they are Bharateeyas. Anything else that they find their interests in, then they cannot be. Bharateeya means Those who are always engrossed, immersed, they are always lost in the beauty and glory of the Lord. That is our culture, our tradition. That is very important. As long as Indians continue to love God, serve God, India will remain what it is. The day they forget God, it will break into pieces. God alone unites this whole country.
If you learn Bhakti, that is more than enough. If you learn devotion to God; you think your education is complete, your education is fulfilled. Mind is most important. Manomoolam Idam Jagat. Whatever your mind is, so you become. You cannot – body is nothing. Body is only a Yantram an instrument. Mind is the real cause behind everything. Wherever you are, to you My advice is the same. You don’t have to worry about the physical proximity. Physical is one illusion. You must always keep God in your heart. You should feel God everywhere. Whatever you do, Sarva Karmam Bhagaada Preetyartham. Do whatever you do for the sake of God. You cook? Cook for God. Sing? Sing for God. You dress up? You dress up for God. Do your work, do it as an offering to God, as worship to God. Spirituality is that simple.
See, anybody who loves God immensely, above everything else, to the exclusion of everything else, God and God alone, He will find God, there is no doubt about it. The one who wants God will get God. That desire, the intense Shradha should be there to get God. Once you have that, some way or the other, God will make Himself available to you wherever you are. He will come behind, wherever you are. So you have to all the time thinking, thinking, thinking and doing whatever you do, do for God’s sake, for God’s love. That is Bhakti. That only is spirituality. That is only the highest wisdom. There is nothing beyond that. Where you are, you have God. To everyone, I have been telling. This is the message. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, do it for love of God. Any profession, any work, any smallest thing also you do, Krishnarpanamastu Sayeeshwararpanamastu I offer it to God. Then all your actions, thoughts, words will become pure. How can you offer impure things to God? So automatically everything will start becoming pure for you. And then God will bless you. He will make you feel His presence, His love wherever you are. That is the secret. So simple it is.
What is Swami teaching you? Study, become selfless, be a good servant of everyone in the society. Purity is greatest wealth. Your purity brings divinity. You have purity in heart, divinity will come behind you, you don’t have to go behind divinity. Unsullied, desireless. That if you do, God only will come running behind; you don’t have to go behind God at all. That is the right kind of devotion. If that devotion you pray to God, He will do anything. Once you have God, you have everything. How can He come so easy unless you have that purity and love. That is the price you have to pay. You really really want God, you will get God. You want God also, world also, this also, that also, everything – you are not going to get God.
See, Those who surrender to Me, I grant them fearlessness Abhaya. Sarvabhutebyo – whoever it might be. All creatures, all beings, anybody – man, bird, beast, insect, anybody who comes and takes refuge at Lord’s feet and says, “I am Yours,” Lord grants them Abhaya. Everybody is happy if God is happy with you. But initially it may appear the other way. That time we have to stay strong. We have to hold on to the feet of the Lord. And say, “I am Yours. I am Yours. Give me refuge.” Anybody takes to the path of God, withstands all the temptations, attractions, distractions, attachments within and without, ultimately they will find fulfilment; there is no doubt about that. There is no Samshaya. There is no doubt about it that they will ultimately reach God. The one who lives with sacrifice, the one who takes less, gives more; it is a man of sacrifice. Such a person is Tyagajeevi. All of you should develop this feeling of sacrifice and renunciation. Whoever you might be, whichever country, whatever situation. This is the way of Swami. To stand and uphold His great idealism, great idea of Swami of sacrifice.
Our hands should be involved in serving the society, heads should be in the forest. Our way is to redeem the mankind of the suffering first. Our path is a difficult path. Our path is a Shreyomarga not Preyomarga. Our path is that of greatness not just ordinary. What is dear is always simple and easy, what you like but what is really good and noble always is difficult. Iha para; this world, that world both will be looked after if you are with God. Those who surrender to Me, I will look after their Yoga kshema, I will look after everything. When you need My help in this world, I will help you; when you need me in the other world also, I will help you because you have surrendered to Me.
In 1961, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba had taken a group of chosen devotees to Badrinath on a holy pilgrimage. Even today when one reads the various articles, and sees video clippings, naturally a deep intense yearning and disappointment of not having been part of that diving trip is certain. At that Bhagawan had told the devotees accompanying Him, “You are all very fortunate indeed, for you are proceeding with the Manifested Form to the Unmanifested Form!” And when Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba decided to take His chosen devotees yet again in His subtle form, it was a trip with the very Unmanifested form! A trip to remember, a trip full of learnings, a trip infused with devotion and spiritual bliss!
The next day, June 08, 2018, after the grand inauguration of the “Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Research Centre for Congenital Heart Diseases” at the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani International Centre for Child Heart Care and Research at Palwal by Sri Manohar Lal Khattar, Chief Minister, Government of Haryana, the Lord proceeded with His chosen devotees to Rishikesh. This was a special trip for the devotees of Singapore and few others, as Swami wanted to laud them for all the efforts which they had extended towards the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence. So this trip to the Himalayas with Swami, was almost a medal, which would be cherished and savored by each person for the rest of their life!
Upon landing at Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun, everyone proceeded to Parmarth Niketan, where Swami was lovingly welcomed by the Singapore devotees who had reached that morning. Pujya Swamiji Chidanand Saraswati ji and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati ji welcomed Bhagawan, and paid their respects to Him. After a wonderful short Satsang, the devotees had a wonderful opportunity to dine with Bhagawan, Pujya Swamiji Chidanand Saraswati ji and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati ji.
The next morning, June 09 an early take off by choppers to Gangotri was the agenda. But the weather somehow did not cooperate, and everyone were asked to wait until mid-morning for the weather to clear. Only a clear visible sky is all that is required for choppers to operate, rain or otherwise. When the organising team submitted to Swami around noon to seek His guidance on next steps, Swami said, “Yes, all have accompanied Me on this divine Yatra. But this is not enough. To meet Shiva, a deep yearning or desperateness is required, and Shiva should also be keen to meet the devotee!
If not both, at least one of the two conditions must be fulfilled! The yearning is not enough. From this moment, let everyone chant Aum Nama Shivaya!” Swami also advised that Gangotri should be planned after Badrinath, and hence Kedarnath would be the first Dham. Prayers intensified, with meditation sessions led by Nithya Shanti, a former Buddhist monk, who was blessed to accompany Swami on this pilgrimage, and Bhajan sessions, led to a deep intense yearning in every heart. Everyone realised what Swami had said was a big huge lesson indeed! It was also a great opportunity for all the devotees to retrospect and join the glorious Ganga Arati in the evening. The Rishi Kumaras chanting Vedas led Swami, and He was joined by Pujya Swamiji Chidanand Saraswati ji and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati ji towards the Ganga Ghat. The next hour was soaked in bliss, seated on the lap of Mother Ganga. The sunset Ganga Aarti at Parmarth Niketan draws between hundreds and thousands of visitors each day from all cultures, all languages, all religions and all walks of life. Bhagawan blessed all gathered with His divine message, and thereafter proceeded to Pujya Chidanand Saraswati ji’s meeting area, where a short Satsang unfolded very beautifully. Swami asked him to speak about the various Seva activities undertaken by the Parmarth team, and Pujya Chidanand Swamiji spoke about all the environmental initiatives. Dinner was served, while everyone were intensely praying to Bhagawan to be able to undertake the divine pilgrimage.
The dawn of June 10. Clear skies and wonderful visibility meant choppers would be able to take off! And this was only because of Swami’s mercy. He had given clear instructions about the timing for the choppers to fly, a clear two-hour window, nothing more, nothing less! Within this time frame, He had instructed that all choppers must reach Kedarnath. Swami’s chopper landed at the temple helipad, and He was taken in a buggy to the shrine. The untiring efforts of the volunteers were to be lauded, as they had trekked all the way up two days before, to ensure all the arrangements were made for Swami and His guests!
All the devotees had finished Darshan of the Lingam, and were waiting for the arrival of the Lord. The Chief Priest along with all the Trustees welcomed Swami with the highest honour, and led Him inside the temple. Special Poojas were performed, and later Swami emerged from the temple, and headed straight to the guest room along with the Chief Priest, who understood Swami’s presence in the subtle form very easily, and in fact commented saying that this is the true form of God, and other evolved beings and Sadhus who continue to meditate and live in the harsh snowy mountainous terrains of the Himalayas for over hundreds of years, even today! Bhagawan gave them all precious advise, before heading to Guptkashi for the night. It did start raining as Swami’s chopper took off from the Kedar helipad, but He assured all that as He would fly off in the first chopper, He would take the bad weather away with Him. And so He did, to the excitement and astonishingly stunning moment, a witness to all present. As Swami’s chopper started gaining height and moving ahead, so did the dark clouds and rains. It was simply magical to witness the miracle!
Swami along with His entourage reached Guptkashi at their accommodation by 6 p.m., and everyone continued to revel in the spiritual ecstasy of the morning at Kedarnath. An early dinner was served, as all the devotees prepared for an early morning take off yet again to Badrinath the next day.
There was activity from 4 a.m. on the morning of June 11, 2018 as the drive from Guptkashi to the Sersi Helipad is almost 90 minutes, and choppers were scheduled to take off from 7 a.m. onwards. Clear skies and bright sunshine overlooking the peaks of Kedar was a welcome sign, and devotees started departing in batches to Badrinath. Swami arrived at Badrinath, and proceeded to the temple, while all the devotees had reached a little before and waited for their Sai Narayana to arrive. The guest room inside the temple premises was converted into a Satsang venue, and Swami arrived a little past 11 a.m. amidst Bhajans. He then proceeded with all the devotees to the main Sanctum Sanctorum, and then returned to Satsang room. A casual chat with all the devotees followed, and Swami shared nuggets of spiritual wisdom with everyone. Devotees asked many questions, and Swami answered them all in the most simplest, yet profound way. One of the questions was, “Swami, we say that God is everywhere, how do we make use of our time during a pilgrimage?”
Swami said, “The main reason why this place has more power is because it is out of the penance of devotees. So, when lot of devotees come together, all their faith and devotion gets focused, and the place develops more power. How? You know sunlight? Sunlight is everywhere. But by itself it cannot do much. Put it through a lens, and all the sunlight gets concentrated. When it gets focused, it can burn a piece of paper. Left to its own, the scattered sunlight cannot burn it. But focussed sunlight can burn it. Likewise, God is everywhere, but He gets far more focused and concentrated through the minds of the devotees. Mind of devotees is like a lens. All the focused devotion creates that power in the place. So certain places carry that power in them. That is what is called, Sthalamahima or Sthalacharithram – the power or the story or the Charitra of that place. Because of the devotees’, who come and think of God constantly, the place develops this kind of concentrated power of devotees! So, all your mind, all your thoughts gets focused on God. And if you continue thinking of God after leaving from here, you will continue to have that power. But if you forget after some time then again you get disoriented, then back to the iron, then rust and dust is the fate!”
Swami then returned to the Hotel where He was staying with His entourage, and lunch was served to Him. Post lunch He urged everyone to visit the Ganesha Gufa and Vyasa Gufa, at Mana village, the last village of India. Ganesha Gufa, the cave where Lord Ganesha wrote the Mahabharata as dictated by Rishi Vyasa. Vyasa Gufa, located on the banks of Saraswati River is the place where Sage Vyasa composed the Mahabharata epic with the help of Lord Ganesha, and also wrote the 18 Puranas, Brahma Sutras and the 4 Vedas! It was a wonderful trek up the mountain, and everyone had a blissful time at both the Caves.
In the evening, Swami proceeded to the Temple once again, as a special session was arranged inside the temple during Vishnu Sahasranamam. As everyone were waiting to proceed inside the temple, yet another Satsang unfolded with devotees asking more questions. After almost 20-minutes, the time arrived for Swami and His entourage to proceed inside the temple. It was indeed a special moment for all, and everyone were completely blissed out! Swami once again returned to the Satsang room, and spoke to everyone at length about the significance of the Badri temple. Many questions were asked once again, and the merciful One answered them, much to the joy of all. Arati was offered to Swami, and everyone returned to the Hotel.
Another bright and sunny morning welcomed Swami and His entourage, as they took off from Badrinath to Harsil. After landing at the Harsil Helipad and a 45-minutes drive, Swami reached the Gangotri temple, where all the devotees were eagerly waiting to receive their Lord. A special Pooja was organised at the banks of Mother Ganga, and thereafter everyone proceeded to the shrine. A Satsang room was arranged within the temple premises, and Swami spoke to the temple priests, and shared precious advise about how to consider themselves fortunate as they were living and serving at Gangotri. Just like Ganga which flows selflessly, Swami urged the priests to serve all the devotees who come to Gangotri selflessly. Swami then departed back to Rishikesh, well in time to attend Ganga Arati. After the wonderful evening, Pujya Chidanand Saraswati ji showed a few videos about the environmental initiatives undertaken by Parmarth after dinner. Swami beckoned a few youth to assist the Parmarth team in their initiatives and endeavours. After blessing all, Swami retired for the night.
The next morning, June 13 saw all the devotees packing, ready to leave Rishikesh after a blissful Yatra with God Himself! After breakfast, Swami blessed His entourage with interview and group photographs. The spiritual ecstasy was still palpable, the blissful energy was still infectious, as all the devotees with hearts filled with gratitude to the Lord, for having blessed them with this unique opportunity, returned to their respective destinations.
The Burden and Pain of Congenital Heart Diseases (CHD) on children and their families is a cruel and unfortunate reality of our times. Sadly, it is the commonest disease at birth in India and its curative care is inadequate and often inaccessible. With close to three lakh children born every year with CHD and prevalence of 25 million of the population with CHD, Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospitals was established in November 2012 to share the National and Global burden of CHD. With the ‘Vision of Right to Healthy Childhood’, the Hospitals provide all treatment totally free of cost irrespective of caste, religion, and nationality.
‘Healthcare’ is complete when treatment of disease is accompanied by the understanding of its causes. It is with this motive that the ‘Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Research Centre for Congenital Heart Diseases’ has been established.
The Centre aims at unravelling the possible causes of Congenital Heart Diseases through Advanced Human Genomic Research. The Center shall procure samples of CHD patients and families from across the Group of Sanjeevani Hospitals which will make it a Centre having the largest Biobank in the country for CHD. Apart from becoming a state of the art facility for Research in CHD, the Centre will draw its uniqueness by having the pure intention of solving this unfortunate reality without commercialising and providing all services totally free of cost.
With the blessings of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, “Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Research Centre for Congenital Heart Diseases” was dedicated to the Service of Humanity by Sri Manohar Lal Khattar, Chief Minister, Government of Haryana on June 07, 2018.
Bhagawan along with the entourage reached Palwal Hospital at 3 p.m. and had a brief interaction with Sri Manohar Lal Khattar, the Chief Minister of Haryana. Along with Chief Minister, Bhagawan went on a Hospital Tour and blessed all the patients and staff.
Thereafter, He inaugurated the ‘Dattatreya’ statue and proceeded for the Inauguration of Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Research Centre for Congenital Heart Disease. A short presentation was made to the Chief Minister at the Research Centre, where Dr Prabhata Rashmi, the Clinical Research Coordinator explained about the genomics lab and the research which would be undertaken by the scientists. The Chief Minister saw the various labs at the Centre, and along with Bhagawan performed the inaugural blood sample run in the centrifuge machine.
Everyone proceeded to the event area, where children were handed over the ‘Gift of Life’ certificates, and a grandmother of one of the children narrated emotionally the story of the child, and how she firmly believed that Sai Sanjeevani was a temple, and not a Hospital!
Bhagawan spoke about the importance of research, and also reminded everyone that a spiritual heart is the residence of the divine. The Chief Minister started his speech by offering his love to Bhagawan who was seated in His subtle form. He mentioned that while there are many children who are born with CHD, and it is necessary to have institutions like the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital and Research Centre.
Post-programme, Bhagawan along with His guests went to the Research wing yet again, and He guided the research team on the methodology of the research, and shared deeper insights of conducting genetic research for solving congenital heart disease. He repeated consistently that any number of hospitals won’t solve this problem unless the root cause is understood, and therefore the effort should be to find a solution before a baby is born. He said that with sincere efforts within few years, the research team would be able to get breakthrough results. Doctors and scientists shared their journey of joining the Sai Sanjeevani healthcare mission which was either a miracle, or a coincidence or like one of the Doctors said, ‘Sai-incidence’. They vividly narrated their own story of transformation, and there was not a single dry eye in the room, thus concluding a very important day in the mission of Sai, and in His own words, “This is a. great contribution to the children of the world, and a very important initiative in Swami’s mission.”
June 3, 2018 would be etched as a red-letter-day in the Educare Mission of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, as the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence is all set to stand as a beacon for Values Education. In a remote hamlet of Karnataka, Navanihala Village, Kamalapur Taluk, Gulbarga District, the grand inauguration of the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence commenced in the divine presence of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. What was once a godforsaken barren land, has now become a lodestone for the sake of God. The Guests of Honour for the morning included Sri T B Jayachandra – Former Minister of Government of Karnataka, Sri Basavaraj Horetti – Member of Legislative Council and Former Minister for Education of Government of Karnataka, Sri Basavaraj Mattimud – Member of Legislative Assembly, Kalburgi Rural, and Sri Maheshwarayya – Vice Chancellor of Central University of Gulbarga. They all reached the Pentagon Building, and after lighting the ceremonial lamp at the altar of Bhagawan, were escorted by the Lord Himself to the state of the art conference room, where representatives from various countries were seated. After a round of introductions of all seated, a short presentation of the University was showcased. Thereafter, the Guests of Honour proceeded to the multimedia room, where a remote classroom was being conducted via video conferencing.
Swami then proceeded along with the Guests of Honour in a grand procession led by girls and boys students chanting Vedam, followed by the Sai’s Symphony, girls band and finally Sai’s Angels Band, the boys band. It was indeed a spectacular sight – watching this grand and glorious procession, leading up to the inauguration venue. This University is all set to bring about a paradigm shift in the education process – information to transformation.
The day’s programme at the venue commenced with a Vedic invocation from Shikshavalli by the graduate and post graduate students of the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence, which had steeped up to becoming The Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence. The former Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Sri T B Jaychandra in the presence of other dignitaries unveiled the University plaque in the Divine presence. Sri Jayachandra was instrumental in getting the Bill passed in the Karnataka Assembly for establishing this divine University.
The first speaker to address the gathering was Sri Basavaraj Horatti, former Education Minister for Government of Karnataka. Sri Basavaraj declared that in the society today, when morality is scarce and parent’s focus is on their children to earn well rather than build good character, this University will be a boon, not just to Karnataka and India, but to the whole world at large. “World-class education with a State-of-the art infrastructure coupled with solid spiritual grounding specifically to students belonging to economically weaker sections from this backward region of Karnataka, is indeed a big boon”, he said. He expressed his immense gratitude to Bhagawan for making such a University a reality. He ended his talk praying that he too could be of some service by pledging his complete support to the University. He mentioned that, in fact, he, as an Education Minister could not achieve this feat. The former minister also expressed sadness that he could not be a student and pursue his education in such a prestigious University.
Honourable Minister for Human Resources – Government of India, Sri Prakash Javdekar also sent a video message, expressing his happiness about this initiative of Swami. He said that this is not a University for commission, but this is a University for a Mission!
Sri B N Narasimha Murthy, Chancellor of the University spoke about the roadmap ahead. Quoting the popular Kannada writer DV Gundappa, he said that both old roots and new sprouts are required for a tree to look beautiful. Likewise, he explained that the welfare of human society can only be achieved by a synthesis of computer and culture. Sri Narasimha Murthy stressed on the great opportunities which are available for the underprivileged to pursue their education from the grade six to post-doctoral level, and added that all educational institutions of Sai, including this new University, would offer high quality modern education based on a spiritual foundation. Citing an example that beautifully demonstrates the impact of moral
based education offered in the University, he said that just the previous week when Baba had visited the Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Kendra in Muddenahalli, a grade nine student had confessed that he had thought the goal of life was to enjoy and make money. But once he joined Vidya Kendra, he had understood that the goal of life was to serve society and thereby serve God!
The next speaker, Sri T B Jaychandra commended the Prashanthi Balamandira Trust for establishing this University. He then shared an interesting episode that had happened several years ago, when a devotee of Baba had requested Easwar Mutthya, a saint from the very same Navanihala village of Gulbarga to visit Puttaparthi. The saint had prophesied that Baba Himself would one day come to Gulbarga. Sri Jayachandra rejoiced saying that day had indeed arrived.
Bhagawan in His Divine discourse stressed the importance of the real essence of education. He revealed that the University‘s main motto is to create selfless missionaries and God Loving people. Swami attributed the University to the prayers of Sri Madiyala Narayan Bhat. Swami said, “Students of other universities would come out as Engineers, Doctors and Accountants, whereas the students from Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence would come out as DIVINE!” Bhagawan ended His speech by conveying His immense personal gratitude and His bountiful blessings to all the devotees, government officials, staff and volunteers who had worked very hard to bring about this institution. The event came to a close with the National Anthem.
In His infinite grace and love, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has blessed humanity by establishing educational institutions rooted in values, creating a generation of selfless leaders, the world needs today. During His Visit in 2016 to the Sri Sathya Sai Mandir, Moosapet, Hyderabad, Bhagawan had benevolently willed for a girls college to be established near Hyderabad – fulfilling a long-cherished prayer, as He was impressed by the purity of the children. He said, “They are lotuses, though living in a slush.”
Soon search for the appropriate land began. Twelve Acres of land in Ananda Nilayam Campus near Kondapaka Village, Siddipet District in Telangana State was blessed to play host to the miracle that was to unfold. Invoking the Master’s blessings, the Bhoomi Puja was performed on February 01, 2017. Bhagawan willed for the Shankusthapana on June 01, 2017, the beautiful event was witnessed by scores of devotees and people from surrounding villages. Swami announced that he would be back in a year’s time to inaugurate the college. God willed, and the target was set. An inspiring Campus was designed and the mammoth task of construction began. The terrain was rocky, sometimes tumbling on to the faith of His devotees. But, Swami reassured and asked for faith to be in Him and allow His magic to unfold… “Just Be”, He advised them.
Today, everyone is a witness to His love manifested in the form of Sri Sathya Sai Prashanthiniketanam College of Human Excellence for Women. As promised, exactly a year later, Swami was back to inaugurate the college on June 1, 2018. Along with Bhagawan, Sri Kadiam Srihari – Deputy Chief Minister & Minister for Education, Telangana State, Sri T Harish Rao – Minister for Irrigation, Marketing & Legislative Affairs Telangana State, Dr K V Ramanachary – IAS (Retd) and Advisor Cultural Affairs & Endowments, Telangana State, along with other guests graced this historic occasion.
The programme commenced in the morning at 7:15 a.m with Vaastu Homam, Navagraha Homam and Ganapathi Homam. A team of hundred ladies from Siddipet district recited Lalitha Sahasranamam and performed Deepam Puja for the prosperity and wellbeing of the College. At 10:30 a.m Bhajans began, and this was followed by a musical rendition by renowned singers – C Vijayalakshmi Samra, D Sureka Murthy and Madhavi Ravuri who rendered Annamacharya Keerthanas, reminding everyone about the aspect of Bhakthi.
After much waiting and prayers, Swami arrived in a helicopter. Students welcomed their dear Lord by Veda Chanting, traditional Bathukamma dance and March past. He was also received by Nadaswaram, Vargal Vedic pandits and Kommaravalli Dhol group. After the ceremonial opening of the grand structure, Swami lit the lamp and blessed the Ganesh statue installed at the entrance of the College. He then unveiled the inauguration plaque and the various rooms. Swami glided past the devotees and His students, and was escorted on to the stage.
Programme started with Sri B N Narsimha Murthy emphasising Swami’s words on how today’s education develops only cleverness not character. He quoted Lord Krishna’s statement that true education is spiritual education. He also related to the thoughts of a modern thinker who said that the problems of today are metaphysical and hence solution should be metaphysical as well. He continued saying first an individual must be a human being before anything else, and concluded that values based education, devotion to God, faith in God is true education.
Sri K V Ramanachari, Former IAS Officer, said “The students who are the future of this country can do intermediate, Degree, Post-graduation from this place. For anyone who wants to receive value based education free of cost, this Institute stands as a great opportunity for them. Yesterday, we sowed the seed, today this has become a plant and tomorrow, this will become a massive tree serving – Cherial, Jangaon, Pragnapur, Siddipet regions of Telangana state.” He conveyed the support and happiness of Sri K Chandrashekhar Rao Honorable Chief Minister Telangana state. He concluded by saying “Just to build a small house, we know how much effort goes in, and I can imagine how many of them would have been working to build this massive structure. I can firmly say that there is selfless effort, perseverance, happiness and love, which has made this happen.”
Sri T Harish Rao, Minister for Irrigation, Marketing & Legislative Affairs, Government of Telangana said, “Doing Shankusthapana on June 01, 2017 and inaugurating the building on June 01, 2018 is not an ordinary one, it is truly that Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has made this possible. Normally, Government projects are delayed by a month. Happening on the promised date is only possible because of God’s blessings.” He said that Swami’s unconditional compassion has been prevalent in this region, one of which is drinking water supply to Gajwel and yet again this repeated with his gift of a higher education college for girls. He informed that the State of Telangana has passed the private University bill recently, and will provide complete support for the University to come up at the very same place.
Sri Kadiam Srihari, Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister of Telangana, offered his gratitude on behalf of the Government, for starting the free higher education college for girls in Kondapaka. He communicated the vision of Telangana Government that “Education is the solution to many of the problems and this Institute will support that effort. Every Telangana student should have access to higher education and be competent enough to grow along with others. For this, we need good institutions like Sri Sathya Sai Prashanthiniketanam.” The Minister outlined various government policies and reaffirmed his support for a University.
Bhagawan in His Divine discourse said, “We have just planted a seed, eventually this will become a University. Lot of institutions are being constructed which develop only cleverness, not character. Sathya Sai Institutions will teach human qualities which are the fundamental part of education. Whether you learn maths or not, you learn science or not, whatever you do or not, human values should be developed first. This is the only reason why we are building these institutions. Where there is grace and will of God, where there are soldiers like Arjuna ready, like Krishna told, work will happen by itself. Students who study here should become good individuals and participate in future in the aspect of offering free education. In line with what the Minister said, this will become a University in the Telangana state. It will become a University within five years!”
Thereafter, Mangala Arati was offered to Bhagawan, and after lunch, the Lord along with His entourage proceeded to Gulbarga.
It was the morning of the last day of the three-day National Teachers’ Conference. Delegates were delving deep into the finer aspects of imparting value education with the help of expert talks, presentations, group discussions, and also interactive sessions on various topics. The morning had two guest speakers who elaborated more on the subject.
The first speaker was a Doctorate in Theoretical Physics, Swami Atmapriyananda, a monk of the Ramakrishna Order and also the Vice-Chancellor of Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, who spoke on the topic of values in education and how teachers should be able to assert their conviction when they teach such values to children.
He started with enunciating the difference between ‘price’ and ‘value’, and spoke about the validity of words like ‘Sat,’ ‘Chit,’ and ‘Ananda.’ He related Hriynagarbha to the Cosmic Server, which an individual could connect to, and have access to infinite power, information, data, and energy. His talk was replete with ancient Slokas from the spiritual texts, scientific methodologies of research and discovery, stories from across the world, and interesting quips that he made so effortlessly. With a calm demeanor, he regaled the audience with his witty but effective talk, and drove home the message that as teachers, the delegates have to stand up for their beliefs in values.
It was a truly a talk filled with experience and practical tips that even the most complex of ideas and phenomenon were described in a simple way.
The next speaker was Sri B N Satish, a motivational speaker in technology and management, having 30 years of corporate experience. He meticulously talked about the meaning of definitions of every word that the Conference was focused on and established a new definition of ‘Value Education.’
He said that if one contemplates deeper into the real meaning of the words, the real meaning of ‘Moral Education’ would be: Education that Sows the seeds of Learning and Practice based on a Well-done system of Collective Windom of people Who Derived Pure Joy in the Pursuit of Knowledge, thereby making the community strong.
He very systematically cleared doubts and notions about the concepts that trouble teachers and students alike, and ended with the societal responsibilities of both teachers and parents towards students. He said that the Indian school of thought was always about making ‘good human beings’ rather than rearing children to become millionaires and caring little about their surroundings.
With these two enlightened talks, the morning session came to an end, and the delegates proceeded for lunch taking with them a lot of thought-food to digest.
The valedictory function of the National Teachers’ Conference 2018 had arrived. The eagerness of the delegates to listen to the, guest speakers and above all Bhagawan was exemplary potential beginning of a revolution, with a capacity to transform young children.
Mrs. Purnima from Vishakapatnam, a delegate attendee, presented the summary of the day, giving a synopsis of the talks and activities.
The next speaker was Mr. Ajay Kumar Sharma, who travelled from Rajasthan to attend the Conference—he recited a poem inspired by Swami Himself in Hindi. He also mentioned that inspired by the Annapoorna Breakfast Seva, the Govt. of Rajasthan has started distributing milk to children of all the government-run schools across the State.
Shiva Prasad Bhat, a student from the Alike campus studying in the Center for Human Excellence, Muddenahalli. He spoke in Kannada, expressing his gratitude to Swami and shared his journey as a student in Swami’s institutions.
An award presentation to four teachers followed who were given to answer fifteen problematic situations incorporating in best possible manner.
A special award was given to Prof Raghavacharya, who has worked in Swami’s Institution for 12 years, teaching Chemistry. He expressed his gratitude and also shared how Swami saved his life when he had to undergo a difficult surgery.
The Honourable Secretary of Education, Govt. of India, Sri Anil Swaroop addressed the gathering next. He said that good work should be applauded and appreciated and also recited a poem where he questioned God why the goodness is not winning. He gave examples from his own bureaucratic career where he had to face difficult people but survived and came out as a winner because of his conviction in goodness.
The next speaker was Sadhvi Bhagwati Saraswatiji of the Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh. She spoke in English and Hindi and delighted everybody with her heartfelt talk. She mentioned that education is necessary but values are also very necessary. She quoted from stories and expounded the meaning of ‘Make in India’ where teachers bring up a generation of students who are touched, loved and served. She concluded her talk by driving the message that ‘Love is the Miracle.’
Her spiritual master, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji could not come to attend the programme but had sent a cardamom garland as his message of love and this was offered to Swami by the trustee of the Ashram Sri D P Garg and Sadhvi Ji.
Swami Atmapriyananda spoke next on the need of goodness being strong in order to counter wickedness, extensively quoting from Swami Vivekananda’s letters and writings.
Thereafter, Bhagawan delivered the divine discourse.
At the end, Swami conveyed His blessings to everybody who attended the Conference.
Thus, the three-day National Teachers’ Conference, 2018 came to an end with the Sarva Dharma Prayer.
The second day of the National Teachers Conference on May 26, 2018 began with renewed enthusiasm at 9.30 a.m. in the morning.
The first speakers were Ms Jayashree Ashok and Mr Ashok (Founders of Creative School, Bangalore). They spoke about the efficacy of education imparted to students in a completely stress-free natural environment. Mrs Ashok urged teachers to connect with students truly and deeply and make the classes interactive, creative and loving. Nature is the best teacher. Students should be allowed to explore and learn of their own accord. In the process, teachers should encourage the blossoming of unique skills of students. Mrs Jayashree Ashok also gave an account about the creative approaches to learning adopted by their School which are not akin to conventional methods of teaching. They teach students practical aspects of learning including personality grooming, handling their own thoughts and emotion, etc and a team of therapists facilitate this. Mr Ashok is a sports enthusiast and spoke to the audience about the values inculcated in students through sports.
The next speaker for the morning was Mr Madhan, an educational motivator, and an expert in political science and social sciences for the CBSE, NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling) and the DAV schools. He is also a master trainer for the CBSE board and has conducted more than 80 workshops in North India. Sri Madhan has been a lesson writer, translator and member of book development committee for the NCERT books. He has delivered radio lessons and live TV lessons on Gyan Darshan as well.
He said, “In recent times teaching has become out of fashion. Hence, we need to shift focus from teaching to facilitating learning. Learning happens only when children are given freedom to think for themselves and to express themselves completely. What is the need of value education? India is Vishwa Guru for morals, values, and good manners. We stood for the value, ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’. However, in the present scenario, there is degradation of values and growing selfishness in every sphere of human life.”
He discussed about four approaches to inculcate values. Direct approach – Values taught through structured methods. Integrated approach – Values integrated with subjects. Holistic approach – Values integrated into each and every aspect of school life. Innovative approach – Exploration of dynamic and engaging methods to inculcate values in students.
The session resumed after a short break and commenced with a group discussion activity. Teachers were grouped according to their subjects of teaching: Social studies, Science, English, Mathematics…etc. Moderators were in place to assist the teacher delegates. Mr Natesh Shetty and Mr C V Subhash (alumni of the Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions) conducted the session. There were two parts to the group discussion. First part was about directly integrating values in subjects and second part was about indirect methods of integrating values outside the subjects. Difference between IQ & EQ – Intelligence and Emotional quotient was discussed.
The participants made flip charts to share the outcome of group discussion.
The evening session began with Vedic invocation of Devi Suktam by the girls of Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence. Brother Ananth Sai, Alumnus of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Group of Institutions, Muddenahalli Campus, who has recently joined as staff in the Sri Sathya Sai Pre-University College, Muddenahalli, after a stint of working in various multi-national companies, gave a brief summary of the morning session.
A video presentation about the Annapoorna breakfast programme was showcased. This was followed by a talk by Mr Sai Prasad Ivaturi, a trustee of Sri Sathya Sai Annapoorna Trust and active volunteer of the programme. He spoke about the journey of the Annapoorna programme and motivated everyone to join the programme.
The last part of the day was the most awaited Bharatanatyam performance, Nruthya Ranjani – ‘Rama Katha’, directed and choreographed by Dr Roshni Pillay Kesavan from Singapore, joined by her daughter, Dr Nisha Pillay Kesavan and Ms Mathivani from Malaysia. Students – girls and boys of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Group of Institutions were also part of the beautiful presentation.
Then the evening session came to a close with Mangala Arati and Prasadam distribution.
Hailed as ‘God’ in the Indian philosophy, the role of a ‘teacher’ is a pivotal one and has been recognised as one of the most crucial societal roles all over the world. There are doctors, engineers, architects, and other professionals, but after parents, it is the teacher who has the power to help the pupil unfold and manifest the skills and qualities inherent in them, and encourage the student to rise to the fullest height. Empowering teachers, making them aware of their responsibility is something that Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has always focused on when it came to working in the education sector. Continuing on the same lines, a National Conference for Teachers was organised in Muddenahalli where more than 1,000 teachers from all over the country, and also from overseas, participated. The main theme of the Conference was ‘Values – Based Education Through Indian Culture & Ethos.’
The inauguration programme was held at Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham Hall on May 25 at 9.30 a.m. The programme started with the arrival of Swami with the Minister of Education, Govt. of Puducherry, Sri R Kamala Kannan. Swami visited various stalls set up at the end of the Hall showcasing various service activities being undertaken by teams and groups in the areas of education, health, social change. After blessing, guiding and encouraging the volunteers and office-bearers, Swami glided past the students and devotees and was escorted to the stage by the students’ Vedam group. The Principle Secretary, Primary and Secondary Education, Govt of Karnataka, Dr Shalini Rajneesh also joined Swami on stage along with trustees and office-bearers of the Trust.
At the beginning of the programme, students of CBSE, SSS Vidya Kendra invoked blessings by chanting Medha Suktam.
Prof A Ananthraman delivered the welcome address to all the delegates by setting the tone and expectation of the Conference. He pinpointed the responsibility of teachers to inculcate values in the children and how teachers need to work on themselves before working on their students.
A video was shown which encapsulated the various service projects undertaken and emphasised on character building of children as the crucial aspect of Swami’s institutions. The video introduced the news of the upcoming University in Gulbarga which will provide values-based quality education totally free to the students. Two very moving accounts of girl students from rural areas of Karnataka were showcased in the video as to how the ability to have education itself is bringing about monumental changes in their lives.
Thereafter, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Govt of Karnataka and the Sri Sathya Sai Annapoorna Trust whereby the Trust gets the blanket approval to serve breakfast in all the Government schools of the State was presented to Bhagawan. It was announced that the Trust will help in the government-run Ksheera-Bhagya Scheme where 50,000 students will be given nutritious food and the upcoming University campus would serve as the center of this activity.
The Minister of Education, Agriculture, Electricity, and Community Development, Govt. of Puducherry, Mr R Kamala Kannan. He started by describing the importantance of value education and how Swami is working on that. He quoted examples of various eminent people who are now remembered because of their deeds instead of the caste of the family in which there were born. He stressed on the meaning of the words ‘Teacher,’ ‘Acharya’ and ‘Guru’ and also the ways through which a ‘teacher’ can transform himself/herself into an Acharya.
The next speaker of the morning was Dr Shalini Rajneesh, Principle Secretary of Primary and Secondary Education, Govt. of Karnataka. She gave details of a survey conducted to know the effects of the Government-run Ksheera-Bhagya Scheme where 94% children said that they came to school because of the milk that they get under that scheme. She mentioned that with the help of the Annapoorna Breakfast programme, enrollment would increase even further in Government schools. Coming to the theme of the Conference, she presented arguments why values-based education is needed and also the value of teachers as the owners and guardians of the wealth of a country, in the form of students.
Sri B N Narasimha Murty was the next speaker who emphasised on the goal of education, which brings professional efficiency, individual character and social responsibility. He quoted from a letter written by a survivor of the infamous Nazi Concentration Camps, who wrote to the teachers of the world asking them to make their students more human instead of professionals in any particular area.
Then, Swami blessed the teacher delegates with His Divine Discourse where He shed light on the real meaning of ‘Vidya,’ which means ‘To Know That’—the Truth. He declared that the knowledge of the Self is the highest education; love is the basis of all the values, children should be taught the principle of this universal love. He went on to say that teachers should develop a sense of sacrifice and teach the same to the children.
After this, the inaugural session came to a close and Swami departed back to Anandam.
The first Guest Speaker of the Conference, Dr S Balasubramaniam then spoke for almost an hour on the role of a teacher and how to practically teach children what they need to learn. Replete with chaste and refined English language, his talk was interspersed with little stories, quotes and references which made it very interesting. Being a physician, researcher and also a professor at the Cornell University, Dr Balasubramaniam gave a passionate talk about how teachers should understand the enormous responsibility that is given to them, and how values should be inculcated in the children, who mirror the behaviour of their teachers. He gave them practical tips about achieving personal harmony so that the very existence of a teacher can become a learning for students. He mentioned that if teachers work on his advice for eight weeks, they will see a visible change in their overall personality which will have these characteristics—compassion, faith and hope, positivity, sense of humour, spirit of service, fearlessness, self-inquiry, and mindfulness.
Adoring the pleasant atmosphere and a welcoming hospitality of their first-ever stay in Muddenahalli, the delegates assembled at Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutam Hall for the evening programme of the first day of the National Teachers’ Conference 2018. They had enjoyed an informative inaugural session and also talks by experts from various walks of life. It was time for some cultural rejuvenation, and they were up for a sweet surprise!
Swami entered the Hall from the stage-side and very keenly listened to the chants of the Vedam boys, advising them and guiding them. He walked past the yearning devotees, giving ear to their prayers, counselling them on various personal matters and accepting their letters. After a full-round of the Hall, Swami sat off-stage and signalled for the programme to commence.
The students of Grade 9 and 10 from the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva High School, Muddenahalli, chanted the Bhagya Suktam to begin the programme.
A summary of the day’s events was presented by Sister H Hiranya, an alumna of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur Campus, and a teacher for more than 20 years now.
Next was the special presentation of Brass Band—a unique group of students from Muddenahalli Campus, ‘Sai’s Angels,’ and their teacher Mr Dimitris Lambrianos.
The show opened with a piece called ‘Bolero,’ which is considered as one of the finest music pieces ever created. The piece had a lot of beats and it actually lent a definite rhythm to the evening—the expectations of the delegates were nicely set now.
The next piece was a rendering of a Bhajan—Allah Ho Tum, Ishvar Bhi Tum.
In between the pieces, students playing various instruments were introduced to the audience with their names and grades in which they were studying. No wonder, the delegates were amazed to see the ability of such young students to play many unheard Western musical instruments with ease and precision, almost impossible at that age.
This was followed by the best Jazz single ever written—Take 5. However, it was played with a twist, as the grand piano had four hands playing instead of two.
In between the pieces, video-clips where shown as to how students work on picking up their preferred instruments as they join the Band, and how their teacher is teaching them; how much practice they put in; how being in the Band is helping them in their overall growth.
Also, Brother Amrut, Brother Munish TH, and Brother P Joshi spoke about their experience of being in the Band—how it helped them in studies, and also moulding their character, along with their expression of love and dedication to Swami.
A unique piece was played by Ishaan Rao a student of the 9th grade from Delhi, , the son of Sitar Maestro Pandit Shubendra Rao and his wife Smt Saskia De Haas, who is a brilliant Cello player. He played Beethovan’s Moonlight Sonata—Movement 3. It was mesmerising to see a child play such a classically complex piece like a child’s play.
Other pieces that were played by the Band included ‘Rudetzky March,’ a soundtrack from the movie ‘Godfather’, the soundtrack from a TV-serial ‘Hawaii 5-O,’ ‘Final Countdown,’ and the Bhajan ‘Love is My Form.’
The presentation went on for over an hour and the reaction of the audience was that of awe and wonder as how such young children worked hard to master instruments, played tunes that are alien to their culture, and still maintained excellent academic records.
Swami blessed the students by going on the stage and taking photographs and offering them a word of encouragement and appreciation.
Mangala Arati was offered to Swami and thus the evening programme came to an end.